We might be familiar with the worst atrocities carried out by the documented “villans” of our post WW2 history, the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin and China’s Mao Tse Tung. It is well documented and accepted that each leader was responsbile for the deaths of tens of millions of their own countrymen. Without going into details and the great historical context surrounding each leader and their actions – which I’m no expert in anyway – let’s just accept those things as facts and consider another question that might seem a bit absurd to many.
Is the United States of America responsible for a comparable number of deaths of innocent people as these historically etched, “gold standard” baddies from Russia and China in the last 75 years?
This is a valid question I believe as each baddies’ victims result from different actions directed against different groups. Mao and Stalin’s victims were mostly from their own countries and there are historical reasons and context that account for at least some of these deaths.
I don’t want to argue exact numbers of any of these cases whether it be Russian, Chinese or American atrocities as any significant number of innocent deaths is an atrocity right? The Armenian genocide, carried out by Turkish forces at “only” 2 million is still as disgusting as the Jewish genocide, carried out by Germans at 6 million. It is impossible and also not at all dignified to try to compare or rank atrocities. We know one when we see one right, no matter the exact details?
The victims of the United States – at least in the last 75 years – are not from internal persecution or necessarily from their long drawn out wars, highly public invasions or from just one part of the world. Virtually all parts of the world have been the target of U.S. interventions of the military, financial and diplomatic kind, in contrast to the former Russian and Chinese atrocities.
To the families and friends of these American victims it makes little difference whether the causes of death were U.S. military action, U.S. support of proxy military forces, the provision of U.S. military weapons or advisors, or from entirely other ways, such as economic pressures and sanctions. Entirely avoidable death is still entirely avoidable death right?
The majority of deaths at America’s hands never make the news or at least, they do so only briefly and they bounce straight off the pyche of the average westerner, straight back out into space, without effect. This is planned like this and it works wonderfully well.
Take for example, just this one startling fact – a UN report from the 1990s identified 570,000 innocent children who were living happily in Iraq, but who died (were killed?) in the three years between 1991 & 1994 as a direct result of crippling American sanctions on Iraq.
Yes, in just 3 years. 570,000. Dead. Iraqi. Children.
(The general figure used everywhere at the time, including in this video below, was “about 500,000” but this number was later identified as actually being 570,000)
In this 25 second video, 60 Minutes interviewer Leslie Stahl, questions then Secretary of State Madeline Albright about the appalling death toll of Iraq’s children caused by Washington’s suffocating hands around their little necks. Listening to her own words as she is saying them, Stahl seems to be struggling to ask the question, as its ramifications, as she seems only too aware, are utterly damning.
In stark contrast, there is no such hesitation or introspection from Madeline Albright. Albright acknowledges the question and its content and then answers it in a very business like and cold manner. She responds to Dahl’s question assertively and confidently, a question which is something like, “the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children seems a very high price to pay for them – is it really worth us (USA) doing this (sanctioning Iraq) if it comes at such a high cost to their children?”
“We think the price is worth it” Albright responds immediately.
Why and How was this senseless killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent children “worth it”? Did these kiddies’ deaths affect the Iraqi President? Did these kiddies’ deaths help the Iraqi people? Does all this killing improve the world or America’s reputation in it?
Remember, these killings are only from the mid 90s, are only concerning a period of three years, only concern children, weren’t due to military weapons and they were all many years before the even greater bloodbath that resulted from the SECOND American George W Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Did you know about this scale of American created death and suffering of ordinary Iraqi children BEFORE the massive and totally fake “shock and awe” WMDs 2003 invasion?
Did you realize America was killing many hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable Iraqis – their children – even before Iraq sank into civil war, urban warfare and terrorism in the decades after 2003?
Were you aware that these 570,000 Iraqi children DID NOT die from America’s military weapons but from America’s FINANCIAL weapons – their crippling sanctions and trade embargos?
American sanctions kill only the most innocent – the young, the sick and the elderly – and they kill innocent people just as effectively as their cruise missiles, bombs and drone attacks do.
But as Nobel Prize winning UK writer Harold Pinter once said of the ongoing non-appearance of these American crimes of financial and military warfare in the western media, in this case, with respect to the 570,000 Iraqi childrens’ deaths, but the same words apply to any number of atrocities,
“They didn’t happen. Nothing ever happens. Even when it is happening, it isn’t happening. It is of no interest. It doesn’t matter.”
Did you know that this same atrocity of crippling American sanctions has been ongoing in Venezeula for well over two decades as well? The last estimate I read is that over 100,000 innocent people in Venezeula have been killed by America’s financial weapons, without a shot fired. Killed. Silently. This killing isn’t happening even when it is happening. This isn’t important. It doesn’t matter.
Vietnam, Cambodia, Syria, Yemen, Chile, Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Panama, Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sudan, Bolivia, Columbia, El Salvodor, Grenada, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and on and on it goes…. it might be quicker and easier to list nations that the United States has not interfered with in some way or another.
These ideas are not conspiracy theories, or anti-American rants or partisan political attacks. The tragedies that resulted from these American interventions around the world are well documented, but hardly visible features on the historical landscape of the world. That must change.
And, I think, slowly it is. Look at me – a fairly conservative western guy, an (almost former) royalist, from one of the UK’s former white colonies and an American ally in New Zealand who was once quite overtly pro-American but who is now writing this website and who has a rather different outlook. I believe the facts speak for themselves, even the “alternative facts”.
So when we look – even very briefly – at the devastating effects of just two of America’s financial attacks, in Iraq and in Venezeula, this gives us some sense of the true scale of death caused by the United States’s prolific interventions around the world in just these last 75 years. These are just the known attacks. Nobody really knows what the CIA gets up to.
Trying to be as impartial as possible, I do find it entirely plausible that the United States is responsible for the deaths of 20-30 million people around the world since World War 2. The duration, scale and particularly the invisibility of their killings clearly shows that this is a plausible claim.
And if this is plausible, then we can conclude that, yes, the United States can rival Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s China in killing people. My greatest concern, is that unlike Russia and China, the United States continues its abhorent behaviour of killing people on an industrial scale. Its stupendisly successful propaganda machine ensures these ugly feats remain largely out of the collective consciousness of the typical westerner.
Let’s try to change that. Otherwise, we all have the blood of innocent children on our hands, whether we know it or not.